Healthy Living Through Environment, Policy and Improved Clinical Care (EPICC) Program

Improving Medication Adherance

Taking medications as prescribed is an important part of managing chronic diseases such as hypertension, and diabetes. Unfortunately, only about 50% of Americans take medications as prescribed. Not taking medications correctly increases the cost of healthcare because patients are more likely to end up in the emergency room, or with a more advanced stage of the disease. It is estimated that these costs add up to close to $100 billion annually!

EPICC and the Public Employees Health Program (PEHP) have been working together for three years to improve the quality of healthcare by increasing medication adherence for patients with hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. A common reason that patients don’t take medications correctly is that they forgot or don’t understand the importance of always taking medications. PEHP is addressing this problem by identifying members who have gaps in prescription refills and providing them with a series of newsletters with information on the importance of taking medications and a medication organizer. The patient’s primary care provider is also encouraged to address medication adherence at their next visit.

Following are the hypertension newsletters developed for this project

Sending newsletters may seem like a small change but PEHP has seen a statistically significant improvement in medication adherence over the course of this project. If you are interested in working to improve adherence in your patients and think a similar project would be helpful please contact Teresa Roark at traoark@utah.gov.